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Di lungi n' eravamo ancora un poco,


rna non sl ch'io non discemessi in parte
ch' orrevol gente possedea quelloco.
"0 tu ch'onori sc'ienzi'a e arte,
qucsti chi son c'hanno cotanta onranza,
che del modo de li altri Ii diparte?"
E quelli a me: "L' omata nominanza
che di lor suona su ne la tua vita,
graz'ia acquista in ciel che SI li avanza."
Intanto voce fu per me udita:
"Onorate l'altissimo poeta:
l'ombra sua toma, ch'era dipartita."
Poi che la voce fu restata e queta,
vidi quattro grand'ombre a noi venire:
sembianz' avevan ne trista ne lieta.
Lo buon maestro comincio a dire:
"iVlira colui con quella spada in mano,
che vi en dinanzi ai tre sl come sire:
quclli e Omero, poeta sovrano;
l' altro e Orazio satiro che vene;
Ovidio e 'I terzo, e l'ultimo Lucano.
Pero che ciascun meco si convene
nel nome che so no la voce sola,
fannomi onore, e di cio fanno bene."
COS! vid' i' adunar la bella scola
di quel segnor de l' altissimo canto
che sovra Ii altri com' aquila vola.
Da ch'ebber ragionato insieme alquanto,
volsersi a me con salutevol ccnno,
e 'I mio maestro sorrise di tanto;
e pili d' onore ancora assai mi fenno,
ch'e' SI mi fecer de la loro schiera,
S1 ch'io fui sesto tra cotanto senno.
COSI andammo infino a la lumera,
parlando cose che '1 tacere e bello,
sl com' era '1 parlar coLl dov' era.
Venimmo al pie d'un nobile castello,
sette volte cerchiato d' alte mura,
difeso intomo d'un bel fiumicello.
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Canto 4

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We were still some distance from it, but not so far


as to keep me from discerning in part that people worthy
to be honored possessed the place.
"0 you who honor knowledge and art, who are
these who receive so much privilege as to be
separated from the manner of the others?"
And he to me: "The honor with which their names
resound up in your life, wins grace in Heaven that
thils advances them."
Meantime a voice was heard by me: "Honor the
highest poet: his shade returns, that had departed."
When the voice had ceased and was silent, I saw
four great shades coming toward us: their expression
was neither sad nor happy.
My good master began to speak: "Behold the one
with that sword in his hand, coming in front of the
other three as if their lord:
that is Homer, the supreme poet; the next is
Horace the satirist; Ovid is the third, and the last,
Lucan.
Because they all share with me that name which
the single voice pronounced, they do me honor, and
in this they do well."
So saw I come together the lovely school of that
lord of highest song, who soars above the others like
an eagle.
When they had spoken together for a time they
turned to me with sign of greeting, and my master
smiled at that;
and they did me an even greater honor, for they
made me one of their band, so that I was sixth
among so much wisdom.
Thus we went as far as the light, speaking things
of which it is good to be silent now, as it was good
to speak them there where I was.
We came to the foot of a noble castle, seven times
encircled by high walls, defended all around by a
lovely little stream.

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